After the record year of 2013 investors had to settle for a more modest performance in 2014, especially on the German stock market. The international financial landscape remained under strain in the year just ended. Geopolitical crises, such as the clashes in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, as well as flashpoints in the Middle East, the sustained drop in the price of oil, poor economic data from Europe and the termination of the US Federal Reserve’s bond-buying programme all served to trigger recurring uncertainty on markets throughout the year. At the same time, though, positive economic data from the US and an expansionary monetary policy on the part of the European Central Bank led to growing optimism in some areas. This was reflected in the volatility of movements on equity markets.
The German DAX stock index entered 2014 at a level of 9,552. On 9 June, after some initial ups and downs, the index passed the magic number of 10,000. Yet this new high proved impossible to sustain over the longer term. In October the index – comprised of Germany’s 30 largest stocks – slipped back below 9,000, only to close the year after a fresh price rally in the fourth quarter at 9,806, i. e. a gain of some 2.7%. The performance of the MDAX was similarly volatile, which began the year at 16,574 points and closed 12 months later – after a rollercoaster ride – with a gain of 2.2% at 16,935. Driven by encouraging economic data, the Dow Jones ended 2014 at an outstanding level of 17,823, an increase of 7.5%.